The coaching staff in Tampa Bay is noticeably different this year. By all accounts this may be the most experienced and diverse group the 43 year old franchise has ever put out. Coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht (possibly) orchestrated the recruitment of Arians former DC Todd Bowles in Arizona and his interim OC Byron Leftwich.
While it’s a little relieving knowing that Todd Bowles brings experience (Spent 4 years as the head coach of Jets) and an aggressive defensive mind, not much was known of Leftwich in the coaching ranks until Arians gave him his shot as a fill in OC in Arizona. Arians had this to say about Leftwich back at his introductory press conference in January:
“I’ve been training guys for this job and I always said I would never give it up and look over anybody’s shoulder until I found one I knew could do it,” Arians said. … “Byron I think is a rising star in this business. What he did with the interim title — it wasn’t even his offense, it was Mike McCoy’s offense — and he did a heck of a job as a rookie. So he’s more than ready.”
That’s some fairly high praise from a well respected coach. It’s scary to think someone who was thrust into an interim position and moderately succeeded to be shot caller on offense, but Bruce Arians carries pedigree. If he’s this adamant about Leftwich as a play caller and of his potential in this league, it should be taken seriously.
Two female coaches were also added to the Arians staff and made history in doing so. Players have been completely receptive to them and acknowledge what they bring to the football field in terms of general knowledge of the game. Assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and Assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar are embracing their new roles and breaking gender barriers for female coaches in the NFL ranks.
Saved for last and for good reason, Arians added long time NFL coaching legend Tom Moore, 80. Serving as a mentor for Arians himself, Moore has coached with some of the NFL greats.
“Tom has probably forgot more football than most of us know,” Arians recalled.
Even QB Jameis Winston talked about what he’s noticed from Coach Moore in the short time he’s been with the team:
“Coach Moore, I seen him up here at 5:30 in the morning getting on the bicycle upstairs,” Winston said. “These guys, they love this game. Anytime you have somebody who just loves this game, you want to get in and just feed from them…”
Mind you guys, he’s 80! Having someone with that much football knowledge is invaluable to any team. Hopefully, he’s busy giving Arians the secret formula for a playoff bound season this year!